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The Center of the Universe

The other day I spoke with a friend on the telephone and in the background her kid started to fuss. She commented he does that sometimes when she’s not interacting with him. I retorted, “I get it. I want to be the center of someone’s universe too.” She laughed and said, “So do I. It will have to be higher power.”

Hearing her say that jolted my system, like someone flinging open the curtains of a darkened room to let the sun shine in. She so clearly expressed a concept I struggle with, a perspective I’m trying to hold.

My spiritual teacher categorizes devotees in three ways. The third class of devotees thinks God belongs to everybody, and because the person is also included within the scope of “everybody,” God belongs to them also. The second-class devotee will say, “No, no, no. That is not the correct psychic approach. You, God, belong to me, and because You belong to me, You belong to all. That is, the first thing is You belong to me. And the second thing, because You belong to me, is You belong to others also.” The first-class devotee says, “No, no, no, that’s not the correct approach. You belong to me and You belong to me only — not to others. In this realm of relationship I do not allow any third person to come. You are one hundred percent mine.”

I’m working on believing I’m the center of God’s universe. Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

He encourages everyone to be a first-class devotee, to develop a personal relationship with a higher power because love is what draws us closer to the divine, and it’s hard to love something impersonal. I can honestly say I’m not a first-class devotee. I’m in between a second- and third-class devotee. I take the viewpoint that I’m sharing my higher power with others. I’m not the center of anyone’s universe; I’m just a cog in a wheel.

My friend’s comment reminds me I could change my perspective. I could operate as if I’m the most important, most special, most beloved being in the universe. Not in an entitled way. Not in a selfish, no-one-else-exists way. I’m not suggesting that I get huffy every time things don’t go according to my plan. Instead, I’m wondering if I could take the perspective of an infant and live in such a way that I know I’m being cared for, that I have the undivided attention of a loving parent.

It’s hard for me to articulate what I’m trying to convey here because it’s an internal mind-shift. The reason I care so much about this topic is because I have insecure attachment. That means I’m used to the idea that sometimes an attachment figure — a parent, a partner, a friend — with be there for me and sometimes they won’t. Historically, I don’t have the feeling of security, of constancy. I’m used to sharing. My spiritual teacher is instead saying, “No. You’re not sharing. This is the securest of secure. You and God are in your own little love bubble,” so to speak.

If I can maintain that perspective that means I’ll welcome in more ease, more peace, and more comfort in my life. It means during turbulent times I can relax because I know I won’t be abandoned, and furthermore, there’s a power greater than me holding me tight, soothing me, letting me know nothing is more important than making sure I’m OK.

I dream of a world where we realize we are each at the center of the universe for a power greater than ourselves. A world where we find ease and comfort knowing that no matter what happens, there is a loving parent with us all along, guiding us, soothing us, looking out for us, attending to all our needs.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.


Reassurance for Challenging Times

This whole week I’ve been spinning out, contemplating the future. “If this happens, then I’ll do this. If that happens, then I’ll do that.” I’ve been on a veritable hamster wheel of potential future outcomes. When I asked myself, “Que pasa?” the answer was, I want to know the future so I can feel safe. I want to know what’s coming so I can plan for it and feel at ease.

One of my favorite authors, Dr. Gabor Maté, wrote in his book When the Body Says No, if someone is “controlling,” they are in fact deeply anxious. He said, “When such a person fears that he is unable to control events, he experiences great stress. Unconsciously, he believes that only by controlling every aspect of his life and environment will he be able to ensure the satisfaction of his needs.”

I think this is lavender. If not, let’s pretend it is — lavender is very soothing.

Yep. Certainly true for me. Unfortunately, I can’t control every aspect of my life and environment, something I’m very clear on. To circumvent that, I try to predict the future, which also, unfortunately, I’m terrible at doing. The future pretty much never goes the way I anticipate it will. Maybe not never. I think one time out of a million I’m right, but those are terrible odds. No one would hire me to tell their fortune, that’s for sure. What to do then?

What I’ve been ruminating on is the notion I can take care of myself no matter what circumstances I’m in. Instead of running through a million possibilities in my head, I’m saying to the scared parts of me, “I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. I’m not ever going anywhere. I’ll protect you. Let me take care of that.” I’m saying it every day, every hour, every 10 minutes. Every time I’m scared and start future tripping.

I’m also reminded of one of my favorite quotes by my spiritual teacher, which I’m sure I’ve shared before: “Difficulties can never be greater than your capacity to solve them.” That means I can have faith in myself and in humanity that no matter what comes, we can handle it. We can solve any problem, we can overcome any difficulty. We are creative and resourceful, and furthermore, we’re not alone. We have each other, but we also have a force greater than ourselves.

My teacher also said, “[A]s long as there is a speck of dust under your feet, as long as a single star twinkles over your head, you should remember that you are not helpless, that you are not alone. You need not have any fear or apprehension about this under any circumstances.”

The way for me to keep fear and apprehension at bay is to keep reminding myself of this. That I’m not alone. That I’m here. That my higher power is here. That we can solve anything together.

I dream of a world where we keep reassuring ourselves. A world where we soothe ourselves about our capacity to handle life. A world where we remember we’re not alone. A world where we know we can solve any difficulty that comes our way.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

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